Having previously worked with most of the Red Lemon team at Gremlin Interactive, I joined them in 1998.
I started at Red Lemon Studios towards the second half of their debut game, Braveheart.
Although it bore the name of the Hollywood movie and prominently featured Mel Gibson on the box, the game had no other connection to the franchise and went by the name “Tartan Army” internally.
AI, Physics and Gaelic
I joined the team to develop the AI of siege vehicles and foot soldiers, and the physics for catapults and arrows. While this was a challenge in its own right, the biggest problem I faced was understanding the game engine itself. The source code used Gaelic terms such as Deasil and Widdershins to mean clockwise and counter-clockwise.
Laurent Noel had written the original renderer using the 3Dfx Glide API, meaning that it would only run on a PC with a 3Dfx graphics card installed.
Since I’d ported Laurent’s rendering code from Actua Soccer while at Gremlin, I wrote two new renderers for Braveheart. The 3D graphics card market was still in its infancy and very fragmented, so we decided to support both Direct3D and OpenGL (which was still popular at the time), in addition to the existing 3Dfx, and a software rasteriser that was developed by a colleague.
I designed a common API for all four renderers that abstracted each of the individual low-level APIs. On startup, it would detect and initialise the most appropriate renderer, then direct all the low-level commands to the appropriate API.
Scripting for Take the Bullet, etc
The team wanted a scripting language for managing cut scenes and other triggered events. I had some experience with this, so I implemented a bytecode interpreted language for controlling game entities.
Although Take the Bullet was never released, the scripting system was reused in several titles that were released after I left Red Lemon, including the PC game of the sci-fi TV series Farscape.